Mar 12, 2014

Abbott must put safety first

Tony Abbott must guarantee there will be no reduction in funding for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in the budget in May.

After Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss’s confirmation that staffing cuts of up to 20 per cent are on the table, the Prime Minister must intervene in the name of safety.

The ATSB employs 110 people who investigate accidents, safety concerns and near misses in air, sea and rail transport.

While the Abbott Government has made clear it wants to cut government spending to the bone in the May Budget, transport safety should be quarantined from the Budget razor.

The travelling public deserves to have the confidence that our nation observes the highest transport safety standards and retains a capacity to properly investigate accidents or near-misses.

Public safety should be any government’s first responsibility.

This vital work of the ATSB cannot be compromised in the search for spending cuts for their own sake.